Archive for March, 2011

Panda Bear

March 31st, 2011 | Features | 3 Comments

This week’s artist of the week is a member of the most cutting-edge band working in indie-rock today (oh, I said it). As a solo artist, he’s also respected for creating some of the greatest and most innovative music of, shall we say, the post-2000 indie-rock renaissance (oh, I said that too). The artist of the week is…

PANDA BEAR!!!

Now, I now we’re all psyched about the new album, Tomboy, which is coming out soon (April 12th, less than two weeks from today), but I wasn’t inspired to make Panda Bear the artist of the week because of that album. Rather, he is this week’s artist of the week because I’ve been listening to his first album, the self-titled Panda Bear, released in 1998 when Noah Lennox was just 20 years old. It’s a bit of a rough album, and his singing is, um, amateurish (to be kind) at this stage. Still, songs like “Mich Mit Einer Mond” and “Liebe Auf Den Ersten Blick” (both instrumentals) hint at the ability he would later perfect of using electronic and acoustic sounds to create very beautiful and organic-sounding music.

Something about hearing these gifts in their infancy is even more incredible than hearing them in their prime – there’s no question that the music he makes now is better, more developed, more incredible, but still, there’s a purity of talent on the album that is at its most naked and innocence.

Anyways – after his self-titled he made Young Prayer in 2004 which I pretty much just didn’t really dig at all. After that, of course, came the masterpiece we all know and love, Person Pitch, in 2007. To my knowledge it was the first album to use samples in the way that it does, its style and methodology laying the groundwork for the ‘Samplegaze’ genre.

The next Animal Collective album, Merriweather Post Pavilion, would adapt this methodology (though Strawberry Jam also used samples in a very interesting way that anticipated what the band would accomplish next) and some would say that it expanded on them. I’d rather think of MPP and Person Pitch as two sides of the same coin, each displaying distinctly different paths an artist could take with samplegaze. MPP showed how one could create perfectly legitimate and accessible pop music with it (“My Girls”), while Person Pitch showed how one could use samples to create a lush, immersive soundscape to get lost in. And I’d say both efforts were ridiculously successful in accomplishing what they set out to do. Each one deserves to be in every self-respecting indie rocker’s record collection (though it’d be nice if Domino charged less for the MPP vinyl).

So far I’ve been loving the Tomboy singles. As more of a ‘pop structures’ guy, I think I’m going to like it even more than Person Pitch, though my ambient-loving roommate feels the opposite. Can’t wait for it to drop.

Butterclock

March 30th, 2011 | Mp3 Posts | 0 Comments

Cool song from this band, Butterclock, who are apparently from Berlin and the Faroe Islands. I had never even heard of the latter location before these guys. So not only have they given me a lovely song to listen to and post, but lead to my further geographical education. Bravo. (Via Don’t Die Wondering)

The Sundelles

March 29th, 2011 | Mp3 Posts | 0 Comments

Yeah, this song by these guys The Sundelles from that town called New York is pretty cool. Sunny. Delly. Simple as that.

The Sundelles – Can’t Win

Work Drugs

March 29th, 2011 | Mp3 Posts | 0 Comments

Ha! Love that the first band I felt the desire to blog about while in the midst of essay-writing hell is called Work Drugs. Dig the chill vibes. Yeahhhhh. (via My Old Kentucky Blog)

The Greenhornes

March 26th, 2011 | Features | 0 Comments

This week’s band of the week is kind of famous by proxy of another band, which itself is also famous really because of another band. However, they’re still a really legits band. The band of the week is…

THE GREENHORNES!!!

You – yes, you reading this – sort of, kind of know The Greenhornes. Maybe your eyes scanned their name quickly once or you overheard something or maybe you caught the song of theirs that was used in Jim Jarmusches‘ film Broken Flowers. The reason you kind of know them is because bassist Jack Lawrence and drummer Patrick Keeler are the rhythm section in The Raconteurs – their band with Jack White and Brendan Benson. What most people don’t know is that they’re a great garage band in their own right who’ve been slogging it out since 1996.

So, as we all know, about 10 years ago we had the garage rock revival in which The White Stripes, The Strokes, The Hives and The Vines spearheaded a return to like…good music. That way also included The Greenhornes, who made a kind of lunge for the big time also, most successfully with their 2002 album Dual Mono. In years to come the album may seriously be recognized as a classic (out) of its time. It’s just a solid album with classic retro rockers (“Satisfy My Mind”), dark smoky duets with female singers (“There Is An End”), and pure, shameless power-pop (“Gonna Get Me Someone”).

They made an EP that was released on the once-really-cool V2 label before that fell apart and the rhythm section got recruited by Jack White for not only The Raconteurs, but Lorreta Lynn‘s backing band on the incredible Van Lear Rose album (that White produced). Their latest album – their first since 2002 – is 2010’s ****, or ‘Four Stars‘.

Truth be told, the album sounds very after the fact. The sound of the early 00’s garage rock revival that The Greenhornes continue to sport feels dated, and they’ve lost the momentum that one could feel in the excitement of Dual Mono. The annoying thing is that it’s not like garage rock isn’t still popular, but now what’s in is to sound like lo-fi psych-garage rockers updating the sound of bands like The 13th Floor Elevators (Black Lips, Harlem, Strange Boys). But damnit, they still know how to write some killer songs – namely, “Song 13”. True, it’s not exactly groundbreaking lyrically, but it’s just a phenomenally well-composed piece of rock. The lyrics work beautifully even if they’re not the deepest, and the production and arrangement are just spot on in every way.

The Greenhornes are not a band that deserves to die out, no band that can write songs this stellar should. If they can push themselves to stop writing overly-retro songs like, “Need Your Love”, they’ll be alright. I don’t expect it to happen and it most likely won’t, but whatever, they’ve made some truly great music. Most of us wish we could say the same.